BOSTON — You really couldn’t have drawn up a more quintessential Patrice Bergeron performance on a night that was about, well, Patrice Bergeron.
The longtime Boston Bruins center on Tuesday played in his 1,000th career game, all with the Bruins, in their 3-1 win over the New York Islanders.
Bergeron had a pair of goals, including the empty-netter, which David Pastrnak left for his linemate so he could score his second of the night.
“Did you really expect anything else?,” Brad Marchand said of Bergeron having a two-goal game on a milestone night. “You know, that guy he just steps up in every situation, and you know he’s going to have a big game on a milestone night like tonight. It was great to see. He’s one of the top players in the game for a reason, he steps up in big moments, and he did that again tonight.”
But as has always been the case, it was about more than just the point total.
The Islanders spent 8:55 on the power play, and Bergeron was on the ice for 3:15 of it. And though Bergeron was one the four Bruins’ skating when Jordan Eberle scored New York’s lone goal, Bergeron was a key contributor in ensuring the Isles didn’t get another tally.
Bergeron got plenty of deserved praise from Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.
“I’m happy for Bergy,” Cassidy said. “He’s a consummate pro. Terrific person, terrific hockey player, terrific dad, I assume a terrific husband. All of the above. So, very happy that things worked out well for him today, but I’m not surprised.”
For Bergeron though, he was just happy to get the win against the Metropolitan Division’s top team.
“Feels good. Feels good to get the win, basically,” Bergeron said. “You know, that?s what I told the guys before the game. As much as it is just another regular season game, a special game, sorry, and something that I wanted to win, and you know, it was a great team effort.”
Here are some other notes from Tuesday’s Islanders-Bruins game:
— Tuukka Rask has switched into another gear lately. After delivering a gem against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, he turned away 28 shots in Tuesday’s win, making a couple of stellar saves when the game still was in the balance.
The netminder now is on a 10-game point streak, going 8-0-2 in that stretch. Particularly since Jaroslav Halak has come back down to earth, the Bruins need Rask to be a rock, and he certainly has been.
— Peter Cehlarik got on the board Tuesday, scoring the second goal of the night.
Although it’s clear the 23-year-old still is trying to work through some of the troubles that plagued him during his first stint in the NHL, he’s been useful. In seven games with the big club this season, Cehlarik is slashing 3-1-4.
Whether he can keep showing signs of improvement and ultimately be the other second-line winger the Bruins so desperately need remains to be seen, but the potential is there.
— Joakim Nordstrom, per usual, was a horse on the penalty kill, even though he took an absolute beating.
Nordstrom logged 3:27 on the PK, most of any forward on the team, and some of that time was with Matt Grzelcyk serving four consecutive minutes. Grzelcyk’s penalties came shortly after Cehlarik’s goal, and with the Islanders bearing down in their attacking zone, Nordstrom blocked multiple shots to keep the Bruins’ proverbial head above water.
You’ll remember Nordstrom just returned from a near-monthlong absence due to a fibula fracture suffered in the Winter Classic — which he played through in the final few minutes of the game. Still, in just his third game back, Nordstrom fearlessly blocked three shots, even though he came up a bit lame on the last one.
The 26-year-old has been an important do-it-all forward for the Bruins this season, and his willingness to lay it on the line on the penalty kill has been indispensable.